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TECHNOLOGY

Why remote monitoring is a must-have for clinical asset management

By Scott Trevino

Remote monitoring for clinical assets and other medical devices is critical for healthcare providers, and it isn’t hard to understand why when you step back and realise all remote monitoring can do for a health system. Recently, a hospital in Indiana used remote monitoring to detect an MR scanner’s compressor was turning off periodically. A technician scheduled a compressor replacement, but through remote monitoring, the team could see the MR scanner continued to be a problem. Technicians finally determined the pressure-relief valve was faulty and stuck open—which is a rare occurrence. The discovery of the faulty valve was a huge win, because it avoided unplanned downtime and potentially more serious consequences like magnet quench. Without remote monitoring, the issue may have gone unnoticed until it was too late.

Unplanned downtime can cost healthcare providers in numerous ways. Not only does this stunt revenue and create costly repair fees, but unplanned downtime also prevents patients from receiving necessary care. It is estimated that 68% of medical devices will be network-connected by 2025, creating an even greater need for real-time device information and ongoing monitoring. Remote monitoring can help manage numerous connected devices within a health system, but the total number of devices isn’t the only reason this technology is crucial. Here are three other reasons why remote monitoring is a must-have for clinical asset management:

Productivity of the servicers must continue to improve

As healthcare providers evaluate how they’re planning to manage more and more clinical assets across numerous facilities, manufacturers are facing similar challenges. The workforce must improve productivity and reach maximum efficiency to keep up with the sheer number of devices. Servicers, such as OEMs, can’t afford to send out a technician for every service call, especially without knowing if an issue is fixable. Using remote monitoring, the technician can troubleshoot a malfunctioning device without being physically on-site, creating better efficiency across the service labour force. And this efficiency only adds to health systems’ ability to reduce unplanned downtime and improve patient care.

Care in non-acute settings will continue to increase 

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a larger push toward non-acute patient care making remote device monitoring a critical ability. Transitioning care to outpatient centres helps healthcare systems reduce costs, but reimbursements in these facilities are still lower than in a traditional hospital—meaning providers are going to face challenges to transition care economically.

So, where does clinical asset management come into play? If a provider has 4,000 devices in an acute facility, an economy of scale is in place for teams to service on-site. Now, if the provider redistributes 2,000 of those devices to multiple non-acute facilities, the costs increase to service each site. It’s unlikely that providers have service teams at each facility, not to mention, the complications created by so many moving parts. Remote monitoring through a comprehensive clinical asset management program helps keep these distributed locations up and running.

Remote monitoring continues to get smarter 

In a clinical setting, technicians must capture even the most basic details of a device. For example, is the power on or off on the MR scanner? How much helium is in the tank? Over time, remote monitoring diagnostics learn about the devices and produce predictive insights into each asset, anticipating any potential failures or service schedules.

Utilising predictive analytics is the only way to make a truly informed decision about whether to replace a clinical asset. A remote monitoring solution with predictive analytics capabilities will use critical data to learn and optimise over time and make data-centric decisions. Service providers are just now peeling back the layers of complexity that accompany machine learning capabilities and only beginning to implement predictive analytics. In the upcoming years, these solutions will showcase a significant, quantifiable financial advantage for organisations as they continue to offer superior value. Healthcare providers with advanced solutions in place will reap the benefits, help devices optimise with minimal downtime, and effectively monitor all acute and non-acute care facilities. These systems will also reduce downtime in at-home care with take-home medical devices.

When you look at complete optimisation, cost pressures and the growing number of facilities within a provider’s network, remote monitoring is no longer a nice-to-have but a need-to-have for the healthcare industry. The reality is service providers have been using remote access for some time. Over the years, these technologies have grown in popularity and prepped the market for innovations like remote monitoring. The ongoing changes in the healthcare space have also led to an accelerated need for remote access and maximum efficiency. Providers are looking for solutions that will keep costs down, maintain device uptime and ensure long-term patient safety. Recent events and the evolving landscape have made it clear that remote monitoring is the answer.

Scott Trevino is senior vice president of product management and solutions, TRIMEDX.


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